Champions League QF: Chelsea underwhelm in their Benfica victory, 2-1 (agg 3-1)


szólj hozzá: Chelsea 2-1 Benfica ALL GOALS
Many missed chances. And nerves jangling right to the end for Chelsea. Benfica did not have any of their four recognized center backs including Garay, Luisao, Vitor, and Jardel. Jorge Jesus, the Benfica coach had to rejigger his back four using Javi Garcia, a midfielder and Emerson, a left back.
Chelsea got the ball rolling through Frank Lampard’s penalty after Ashley Cole was shoved by Javi Garcia in the box. The stare down between Lampard and Benfica’s goalie Artur was quite riveting with Artur snaking his tongue out giving his opponent the eye. Maybe it was a dream involved a nice bottle of Chianti, fava beans, and yummy baked Lampard pie? In the 40th minute Maxi Pereira got sent off for a stupid lunge on John Obi Mikel for his second booking after receiving his first for jawing back at Damir Skomina, the same referee who earned Wenger’s wrath in the Milan Arsenal match.
The man advantage was not exploited by Chelsea who went through a series of missed opportunities including a Ramires plumb in front of goal. Things turned very, very nervy in the 85th minute when Garcia atoned for his penalty giveaway by guiding his header past Cech from a corner as Chelsea fell asleep. Another goal and Benfica would be through on the away goal advantage.
Chelsea bunkered down as Benfica conducted a few very close raids but in the end with their whole team pressing, Aimar’s free kick was headed out by Mikel and suddenly Meireles had acres of space to run on the break and smash the ball from distance for Chelsea’s winner and eventual ticket to the semi-finals.
They will need to improve stratospherically to have a chance of ousting Barca. That or maybe Tom Hennings Ovrebo will dust himself off to officiate and go maverick on UEFA’s favourite team. This time it will be Xavi mouthing off and Busquets chasing Ovrebo.

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